If this National Journal report is accurate, Marco Rubio may be pulling a George Patton down in Florida, pivoting 90 degrees from his assumed target and heading for a new battle.
Two Republican sources said today that even as former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio campaigns for retiring GOP Sen. Mel Martinez’s Senate seat, he has been calling around to top Republican donors and activists in the state to discuss the idea of switching from the Senate primary against GOP Gov. Charlie Crist and into the open-seat race for attorney general, where a serious Republican candidate has yet to emerge.
While his numerous and vocal supporters in the Sunshine State might be dismayed by this should it happen, Rubio may be outsmarting the competition and looking at a bigger prize down the road. First, it’s never good to stake your fortunes on one big fight and come up short. Rubio is facing a huge battle against Charlie Crist, who is well funded and backed by the national party structure. Having a loss on your record may not be the end of his career, but it certainly doesn’t help.
Also, competition for the AG office is often not as stiff, as evidenced by the fact that nobody from the GOP has seriously staked out a claim yet. But the AG office is seen as a very good stepping stone to higher executive aspirations, setting you up for a run to be Governor or even President VP or a cabinet position down the road. On top of that, the Senate isn’t exactly held in high regard these days. Barack Obama not withstanding, it hasn’t been a great launching point for the top positions. The future options for Attorney General Rubio might be far more promising than First Runner Up for Senate Rubio.